Scrap all those old scouting reports you might have about the Hokies -- at least going into the preseason.
Instead of relying on their defense and kicking game while praying the offense can at least not lose games, Virginia Tech will boast a high-powered offense that, at least to start the season, might have to prop up the defense and special teams.
The list of returning stars is a long one: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, two tailbacks (Ryan Williams and Darren Evans) who became the fulcrum of the team's offense as freshmen and underrated wide receiver Jarrett Boykin.
Throw in a couple of more receivers who can make plays deep down the field in Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts, and you have an offense which could score 500 points if the line's unproven left side holds up.
On the other hand, Bud Foster's defense enters the year with fewer proven talents than it's had in nearly a decade. There's just one returning starter in the defensive line and two at linebacker, one of whom (Barquell Rivers) might not be ready at season's start.
The secondary has a little more experience with top cover corner Rashad Carmichael and solid rover Davon Morgan, but must break in new free safety Eddie Whitley.
Although most of the material is raw, it's talented. The coaching staff says this defense is potentially the fastest it's had in the last 15 years.
In the kicking game, coach Frank Beamer is uneasy about having to replace an All-ACC kicker (Matt Waldron) and punter (Brent Bowden). Two seniors with no experience, Chris Hazley and Brian Saunders, will have big tasks.
And there will be no easing into the season for either the defense or special teams. The Sept. 6 opener against Boise State, which returns 21 of 22 starters from an unbeaten team, is one in which the Hokies will have to be on point right away.
If Tech can buck the Broncos, its schedule through October seems to set it up nicely to be 8-0 going into a November stretch run of Coastal Division rivals Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami. That might determine the Hokies' ACC -- and perhaps national -- championship hopes.
ROSTER REPORT: --RB Ryan Williams was the only Hokie who earned preseason All-ACC first team honors from the media. Williams rushed for a school-record 1,655 yards as a freshman and scored at least one touchdown in every game.
--Virginia Tech is the preseason favorite in the ACC, picked to win the league title by 50 of 98 voters at the conference's media days in late July. It's won the ACC three times in its first six years in the conference.
--The program is shooting for its 18th straight bowl appearance as well as a seventh straight 10-win season. The last time it missed on a bowl game was 1992, when it went 2-8-1 in Frank Beamer's sixth season.
SPOTLIGHT ON SEPTEMBER: In a showcase game, the Hokies start by facing Boise State Sept. 6 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. If they are to harbor legitimate national championship hopes, they'll have to beat the Broncos. After that come home games with James Madison and East Carolina before a potentially tricky trip to Boston College Sept. 25.
KEYS TO SUCCESS: The offense could be the ACC's most explosive with a proven QB in Tyrod Taylor, arguably the best tailback tandem in the nation (Williams and Darren Evans) and a deep group of receivers. The defense appears to have as much speed as it's ever had and the Hokies have playmakers in the kicking game.
AREAS OF CONCERN: The left side of the offensive line is a worry with veterans Sergio Render and Ed Wang now in the NFL. Then there's a relatively green defensive line, which has just one returning starter. And there's a new kicker and punter, a development which has to add gray hairs to coach Frank Beamer's head.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The thing we are going to try to do as an offensive staff is to get more than one of them on the field at the same time." -- Running backs coach Billy Hite on Tech's depth at tailback, where it possesses Williams and Evans, plus speedy sophomore David Wilson.